I love the café in Christchurch which is printing bad Tripadvisor reviews of itself, on its menu.
It boldly calls itself the home of terrible Tripadvisor reviews in a bid to put unfair online attackers in their place. Good job. Nothing stares down the haters like serving it back to them with humour.
On the menu they’ve printed anonymous negative reviews such as, “cool place, nice coffee, all ruined by the staff”.
The idea here being diners can (A) clearly be amused by it, much like the famed reading of mean tweets on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and (B) compare their own experiences to that of the aggrieved reviewer’s.
It’s also in a bid to promote more decency among reviewers, but they’d be hoping new punter's experiences stack up, so the negative reviews aren't justified. It’s a risk, but one this café clearly backs itself to take. Good on them.
I can’t fathom how in this age of mental health concern and awareness, that we allow anonymous keyboard warriors access to serious mainstream outlets to spew their venom.
There’s surely enough of that on the many platforms of social media.
So why do serious organisations like newspaper websites and restaurant review sites, allow anonymous attacks? Why are standards not tightly regulated and upheld?
The line between our real and virtual world is so paper thin these days that for kids especially, it’s hard to detect the boundaries.
Much of what is said online tips over into the real world as fact, with drastic and sometimes dire consequences.
Stoic types are able to dismiss trolling as just a handful of angst-ridden weirdos not to be taken seriously, but the majority of people, when directly or even indirectly targeted, find it a bitter and difficult pill to swallow.
It is not always easily ignored.
These sites will tell you they moderate comments... do they though? How many moderators are overlooking how many comments to do that?
Online abuse being ‘moderated’ is about as reassuring as schools who say they have anti-bullying policies in place.
And don’t give me the free speech argument, that ship has sailed. Hate speech is not free speech.
So instead of allowing anonymous trolls to post anything they like from their Mum’s basement, how about we either ditch the comments section, or only allow comments from people who provide their full name.
If you want to say it publicly, you should own it publicly.
In the meantime, cheers to C1 Espresso for facing their trolls down.